Audio Newbie Q: Apogee Duet or MOTU Ultralite or PreSonus Firebox or Audio Kontrol 1?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by JonasLondon, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. JonasLondon macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2006
    Hi all,

    I've read many other threads about the "best" firewire audio interface and several reviews. I am looking for some more advice by the more experienced people on the board, it would be awesome to get some more input - thanks a bunch in advance guys and gals!

    After years of no music production I am in the process of getting set up for it again. Music styles: "House/Dance/Electro" plus occasional "soundtracks" for short films. I am quite familiar with applications from Final Cut Studio 2 etc.

    KIT list so far:
    - currently a Dual 1.8 GHz PowerMac G5 w 4 GB RAM, but new 8-core Mac Pro "Early 2008" coming soon (waiting for the damn NVidia 8800GT card to become available!) with 2GB RAM (+8 GB RAM later)

    Reason4 (I won this, so I will probably use it via ReWire for synth-instruments)

    Ableton Live 7 or Apple Logic 8 (or both, Logic has become so cheap in comparison to Version 7!) - haven't finalized that yet (love the whole new Logic Studio 8 but a good friend and successful producer recommends Live - I'll have a shoot-out betweenthe two soon :) )

    Controller/"Input device":
    I plan on getting something like the Novation ReMote SL25 compact.
    Or, if I win the lottery, something like the Euphonix MC Mix, but let's not digress...

    AUDIO INTERFACE - this is the biggest question mark at the moment
    I have read up on / narrowed it down to:

    - Native Instruments Audio Kontrol 1 (USB)
    - PreSonus Firebox (FW)
    - Apogee Duet (FW)
    - MOTU Ultralite (FW)

    The Audio Kontrol 1 is apparently quite good, although I don't see any use for the knobs and clicks and the fact that it is USB is not really winning me over... With all the claims that USB2 is almost as fast as FW400, I never seem to get that for other devices, and I intend to use the software instruments and effects of Live/Logic a LOT, so I reckon FW would be on the safer side?

    I've read good reviews but recently mixed feelings about the PreSonus Firebox, a lot of people seem to be having Firewire issues, although it does not seem to be happening on the Mac Pro's from what I've read.

    I love the flexibility of the MOTU, but honestly I will hardly ever record more than 1 Mic / Vocals / 1 Guitar, so the Apogeee Duet should be fine...

    have I just answered my own questions? :confused:

    What I really want, even though I am a bloody beginner, is great sounding equipment, notthe least that I love listening to good quality music through iTunes too, and I understand a good FW Soundcard can help immensely here too, compared to the built-in "soundcard"+"headphone jack".... obvious as it is, huh? :)

    I will search the threads for my last question: choosing headphones for initial mixing... (I know, I know... but I can't place mega monitors in this room, my neighbour downstairs would go bonkers, sorry!).

  2. John.B macrumors 601


    Jan 15, 2008
    Holocene Epoch
    I have a Duet that I use with a Macbook. Perfect for one person layering tracks in Logic (or even GarageBand for that matter). Its an ultra-portable FW audio interface, and the two inputs have amazing sounding pre's, all for about five benjamins. It has a few quirks but nothing serious and nothing that isn't easily worked around.

    OTOH, If you are going to record multiple instruments or record vocals at the same time or record anything live beyond one guitar and one vocalist, the Duet is probably not going to cut it.

    For sessions, our other guitarist owns a pair of Ensembles that feed into his MBP. Clearly that is at a different price point from the Duet, etc. There are other less expensive options that are Mac friendly -- we have an 8 input MOTU ultralite FW interface that is nice, and didn't cost much more than the Duet. In a side-by-side comparison I though the Apogee was superior to the MOTU in fidelity and clarity (and for that kind of money, it should be better). The only way to know if you can tell the difference and if that difference is worth the extra money to you is to demo them side by side for yourself.

    I would recommend to stay away from USB interfaces if you can. Again, demo anything you are going to buy, test that you can live with the latency and that the tracks don't sound "thin". If you can't demo it, make sure you can return it if it doesn't meet your needs.

    As far as monitors, you don't need to go for huge decibels. The ADAM A7s are about a grand for a pair and are all you need for mixing and mastering purposes. We love ours, IMO there is nothing in that price range that even comes close. You can do better (you always can), but not without spending some serious coin. Use the money you save on a decent condenser microphone or two for your home studio.
  3. Drumjim85 macrumors 68030


    Oct 7, 2007
    DFW, TX
    here's my order :


    I've owned Apogee, motu and presonus products... and apogee is the best brand out of them ... and i will never buy a presonus product again...
  4. JonasLondon thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2006

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